Economic and Social Rights Centre (Hakijamii)

                              Yaya Court, Suite 8, Yaya Centre along Chania Avenue

                                   Next to Grace House Resort Main Entrance
P.O. Box 11356-00100, Nairobi Kenya,

                                               Office Mobile: 0726-527 876/0732-906255

STATEMENT ON THE IMPACT OF FUEL PRICE HIKES ON POOR AND VULNERABLE KENYAN FAMILIES

The world is in the grips of a pandemic that has destroyed livelihoods and increased poverty and destitution for a great majority of the people, especially the vulnerable and marginalized in our Kenyan society. As a country, we are already experiencing the third wave of the pandemic replete with loss of lives and livelihoods, loss of jobs and businesses, and the general deterioration in the standards of living of the majority of our population. A caring and compassionate State and its agencies would have been expected to put in place measures to cushion our poor and vulnerable communities from the ravages of the pandemic by directing the available resources towards adopting low cost measures for their protection. This is a requirement of the Kenyan Constitution itself, which provides in Article 21 (3) that the State and its officers have a duty to address the needs of vulnerable groups within society; and in Article 20 (5) (b), which provides that resource allocation should give priority to the widest possible enjoyment of rights or fundamental freedoms having regard to prevailing circumstances, including vulnerability of particular groups or individuals. These provisions of the Bill of Rights are binding on the State its organs/agencies in the development of any economic policies as per Article 19 (1) as read with Article 20 (1)). These provisions are further buttressed by Article 46 (1) (c) that calls for the protection the economic interests of consumers.

The substantive and continuous hiking of fuel prices in the last three months (January-March 2021) by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) goes against these very provisions of the Constitution. This unjustifiable increase in fuel prices is bound to adversely impact all aspects of the lives of Kenyans, especially the most vulnerable in our country, in their access to the basic survival goods like food, water, healthcare, energy and transportation. It is also bound to affect agriculture, industry and businesses that are reliant on energy for the production of goods and services; with these costs likely to be passed down to Kenyan consumers, further increasing the financial burden on already heavily taxed Kenyans through the increase in the prices of goods and services. This constitutes a violation of the economic and social rights of Kenyans as entrenched in Article 43 as well as their consumer rights as contained in Article 46 of the Constitution.

As an Organisation working for the realization of the socio-economic rights of vulnerable and marginalized communities, we as Hakijamii state that EPRA, as an agency of the State, is bound by the Bill of Rights in undertaking its functions of regulating the Energy and Petroleum Sector and in harmonizing the pricing of fuel products. We thus demand that EPRA takes into account the socio-economic and human rights impacts of its fuel pricing policies in the context of the prevailing pandemic situation and the reality of poverty, vulnerability and marginality of the majority of the Kenyan populace. On this basis, we demand an urgent and complete review of EPRA’s pricing policies with the guidance of the Bill of Rights and with the equitable participation of the public as is required by the Constitution, especially the participation of the poor and vulnerable communities that are bound to bear the brunt of EPRA’s fuel pricing policies. In the context of that review, we demand that members of the public are provided with sufficient information on EPRA’s current fuel pricing policy as per Article 35 of the Constitution to enable them participate fully and substantively in this review process.

We stand with our vulnerable and marginalized communities in this difficult moment that detracts from our enjoyment of our fundamental rights and call on all Kenyans of goodwill to collectively oppose the continuous callous disregard of these rights through predatory fuel pricing by EPRA.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS CENTRE-HAKIJAMII

EMAIL: esrc@hakijamii.com

P.O. Box 11356-00100, Nairobi Kenya,
Office Mobile: 0726-527 876/0732-906255

 

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